Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
Art Stumble 2020
Art Stumble 2020, a mural-painting project on the wall behind McCollum Hall and a corresponding event by the Fort Myers Mural Society, will promote pride in the Fort Myers Dunbar community, as well as support economic growth with aesthetic enhancement. The block party will be held April 25, 2020, where the community can watch the murals being painted before their eyes while enjoying other pieces of art on display, vendors, refreshments, and music. The theme of the mural collection is a “wall” that symbolizes the positive influences of diversity, not division. The actual 17 murals produced will feature internationally-renown musicians who played at McCollum Hall, such as Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, B. B. King, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald. The project bridge an artistic connection between the Downtown River District—where The Mural Society has painted other murals—and the Dunbar section of the city. Funding for this Art Stumble 2020 will originate from grants previously received by The Mural Society.
Barden Street Community Garden Learning Center
In 2019, the CRA approved funding of $13,000 for the $246,000 Barden Street Community Garden Learning Center (BCG), to be located between Barden and Flint streets just south of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Funding was requested by the I Will Mentorship Foundation, which will manage 6the Garden and Learning Center. The requested $13,000 funding will be used to construct the garden’s signs, art wall and valor reflection area. Overall, the project will take 3 years to fully complete. It will have the capacity to provide over a thousand pounds of organic vegetables and 200 pounds of fish.
More than just a garden, this urban initiative will infuse 21st Century agricultural skills and the beautification of a blighted neighborhood with art and culture. This multi-faceted effort combines community development, nutrition, education, entrepreneurship, local economic development, and community enjoyment. Once established, the BCG will be open to community groups for hands-on nutrition education, where residents from the surrounding area will be encouraged to eat healthy foods grown in the garden. In addition, the reverse side of the garden signage wall will feature a living valor reflection area, recognizing veterans and first responders. As of January 2020, water and electric services have been installed. The irrigation system is in the process of being installed. The orchard area will be planted in February.
Next Level Church converted the 46,000 sq. ft. Dunbar Shopping Center building into the Dream Center, which will offer a faith-based community outreach program providing job skills training, hunger relief, basic education & Bible studies. A Lee Health Clinic will occupy one of the storefronts. The City of Fort Myers opened a Dream Center Police Substation on the east end of the complex in November 2017 to strengthen its interaction with the local community.
Velasco Village Neighborhood Improvements
Velasco Village neighborhood improvements will include one monument sign and four neighborhood signs. Work on this project is in progress; the sign has been designed and its new location is targeted for the corner of Velasco Street and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Four neighbor signs mock-ups designs have been submitted to the vendor. Completion is expected in early 2020.